Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

My dad served in the Navy, and was on a ship that treated the injured from the battles at Iwo Jima. Years later, as I was growing up, he told a lot of funny and interesting stories about being in the Navy, but he never talked about the tough, sad, or scary moments. Then, when my parents visited the Iwo Jima memorial during the 1990s, my dad (who never showed emotion in public) stood and looked at it and cried like a baby. We realized then that he must have seen a tremendous amount of suffering during that battle, and probably throughout his Navy career. He survived a tour in WWII and a re-enlistment in Korea. He was one of the lucky ones.

Veteran's Day was established on the anniversary of the WWI Armistice to honor all who had served, and Memorial Day was established at the end of the Civil War to honor the war dead. On this Memorial Day, say thank you to a vet no matter what you think of current wars and politics. I hate some of the decisions made by the governments of the world, but I hold our fighting men and women in the highest esteem. And, as this day is to remember those who have fallen, give any size of donation to the VFW or to one of the great organizations, such as the Yellow Ribbon Fund, set up to help our veterans as they return and deal with many issues.

You know that statement that says "we do more before 6:00 a.m than most people do all day"? That is true. And, because of their efforts, we have the freedom to do what we want for the rest of our day. The men and women who have fallen have traded all of their tomorrows so that you could have today. Enjoy.

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